Despite all the limitations imposed by the present pandemic, Italy's cultural scene flourishes. This weekend is dedicated to the Giornate europee per il Patrimonio (European Heritage Days), an annual event involving the Italian Ministry of Culture (MIBACT) and Rome city council, with the support of the European Council. The programme demonstrates that Rome's ancient archaeological sites and centuries-old art collections and museums are by no means static entities.

Rome's state museums will be open Saturday night with a special reduced entrance ticket of 1 euro. Several iconic sites, such as the Colosseum and the Palatine, are also staging outdoor concerts and wellness programmes. Special guided tours are available on Saturday and Sunday in the Appia Antica Park that include the exhibition “Lessons by Raphael”.

Puppet performances enliven the Baths of Caracalla, as well as a saxophone concert at the Palazzo Altemps Gallery. The archaeological site of the Drugstore Museum (a converted supermarket) in the Ostiense necropolis will open specially for a theatrical performance., as well as the historic State Archives with rare documents and letters on display. The Villa Borghese Museums opens its “Secret Gardens” as well as hosting an open air recital in the Park by the Under 25 virtuosi of the Santa Cecilia conservatory with a programme that spans from Mozart to Philip Glass.

To mention just a few of the many unusual attractions on offer.


Posted on 25 Sep 2020 by Editor

Traces of Italy's oldest domestic dog were recently discovered in one of Italy's most important paleolithic sites on the Gargano peninsula (Puglia).

The exclusive find, by a team of Italian and French researchers coordinated by the University of Siena, and published in “Scientific Reports”, dates the fragments of dog teeth to between 14,000 and 20,000 years ago, several eras prior to dog bones and teeth found in Central and Western Europe, and before the establishment of settled agricultural communities.

Scientists believe that wild dogs, or wolves, originally attached themselves to humans to scavenge food and gradually became hunting partners and watchdogs.

This is not the first sensational find yielded by the Grotta Paglicci cave at Rignano Garganico (near Foggia, Puglia) which is decorated with prehistoric wall paintings of horses and handprints. Artefacts found in the cave include various animals and hunting scenes carved on bone, as well as a stone pestle and traces of wild wheat dating back 32,000 years, proving that pre-agricultural hunter-gatherer societies already practised food preparation.


Posted on 22 Sep 2020 by Editor

A series of guided excursions to discover one of Italy's little known natural treasures are now available at Grottaglie (Taranto, Puglia).

The Gravine di Grottaglie is a natural area of rocky cliffs, deep canyons, cascading waterfalls and hidden lakes, more or less unknown in the outside world. The Grott'Art Association is now organizing walking tours with qualified guides through the labyrinthine grottos and corridors that reveal surprises like primitive rock churches hollowed out of the soft limestone, ancient cave dwellings and store rooms, clumps of olive groves and crypts.

The three principal tours take in the Lama di Pensieri, with Byzantine-inspired paintings in the Church of San Biagio, the Gravina del Fullonese, named after a small Jewish community that took refuge from persecution here in the 10th century, and the pine wooded Gravina di Fantiano, where the people of Grottaglie lived during the Middle Ages, complete with hollowed-out stairways and terraces linking the dwellings, and an outdoor theatre.

Grottaglie is arguably the most important ceramic city in the world with its unique craftsmen quarter where fifty different pottery craftworks are grouped.

The three-hour tours take place every Saturday and Sunday morning. Maximum 20 people per group. Tastings of local products are included.

Info: Tel. +39.0995623866

Posted on 18 Sep 2020 by Editor

With the Italian pandemic apparently under control, Italy is beginning to launch various autumnal events. An attractive proposal to celebrate the wine harvest comes from Bergamo, one of the Italian cities worst hit by the onslaught of the Covid 19 outbreak this spring.

The Picnic Chic organization of Bergamo, in collaboration with the Movimento Turismo del Vino (Wine Tourism Movement) is launching two weekends of Cantine Aperte (Open Wine Cellars) involving wineries all over Italy.

Through Picnic Chic's central booking online, individuals and families can participate in picnics of strictly local gastronomic products, tastings, grape harvestings and tours in the areas of their choice.

The two events are on the 19-20 September and the 26-27 September.


Info: Tel.+39.03929672555


Posted on 14 Sep 2020 by Editor

The prestigious Hanoi Museum of Vietnam is hosting a revolutionary exhibition centred on Raphael, the great Italian renaissance artist until the 31st October 2020. “Magister Raffaello”, is the latest project realised by Magister Art, PMI Innovativa (which aims to introduce Italian culture in an innovative virtual form to venues not normally accessible for exhibition of the original works of art).

The high technological results achieved in virtual reality, in fact, allow masterpieces that would not normally be available to a worldwide public to be viewed in all their complexity, as near as possible to the real thing. The development of this technology, in fact, means that great Italian art can be enjoyed and appreciated in ways that were not previously possible.

The initiative to exhibit at Hanoi has been backed by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the city council of Hanoi and the Italian business community operating in Vietnam. The Hanoi Museum was designed by German architectural firm GMP Architekten, and was inaugurated in 2010 as part of the celebrations of the city's 1,000th millenary.

The six exhibition rooms dedicated to Raphael will take visitors through “a living theatre”, recounting the the “Raphael story”, the places where he lived and worked and the artists, writers and philosophers of his era.

Visitors will be equipped with an APP in four languages (including Vietnamese) and there will also be a section dedicated to children.


Posted on 10 Sep 2020 by Editor

Restrictions and fears due to the epidemic have curtailed Italy's usual summer festivals, according to research carried out by the Trovafestival organization. Since the cautious re-opening of the 15th June, the summer festivals in programme this year have been reduced by a third.

However, according to Trovafestival, 101 cultural festivals have confirmed their plans to go ahead with live events. Four have announced they will hold their events in streaming and 90 festivals normally held in the spring will now hold their 2020 edition in September.

In normal times, thousands of cultural events involving art, literature, cinema, dance, music and theatre are held all over Italy, not only in the cities, but also in small towns, all followed by an enthusiastic and appreciative public.


Posted on 06 Sep 2020 by Editor

The results have been published of the annual election of Italy's 10 “Most Beautiful Borghi (historic villages)”. The Apennine town of Bobbio in Emilia Romagna, with its ancient Abbey of St. Colombanus, founded by the 7th century Irish monk, scooped this year's gold medal.

Second came Venzone in Friuli Venezia Giulia. This town, declared a National Monument in 1965, was tragically destroyed in the Friuli earthquake of 1976. However, thanks to the determination of the local administration, it was totally reconstructed exactly as it was before during the eight years immediately following the catastrophe.

Arquà Petrarca in Veneto, where the poet Petrarch spent the last years of his life was third.

Runners up were: Conca dei Marini (Campania) on the Amalfi Coast, Castiglione di Sicilia on the slopes of Etna, Castelmezzano in the Dolomites of Basilicata, Orta San Giulio on Lake Orta (Piemonte), Tellaro in Liguria and Panicale (Umbria).

The “Borghi Piu Belli d'Italia” organization was founded in 2001 by the Tourism Council of the Association of National Italian Municipalities to unite the collective forces of the numerous artistic and historic small towns with less than 15,000 inhabitants. It now counts 289 members.


Posted on 04 Sep 2020 by Editor

Most Italians have chosen to stay in their home country during the strangest summer holiday season in living memory, due to the Coronavirus emergency, according to data collected by Coldiretti (the national association of farmers).

This has been good news for many seaside and mountain resorts, which had lain empty through much of the spring. However, Italy's celebrated art cities, large and small, have suffered greatly from the drop in foreign tourists.

The Coldiretti poll revealed that 25% Italians stayed in their home region. Many took the opportunity to explore the many little known borghi (historic villages) and sample the local food products and wine. Italy is the uncontested world leader in wine and gastronomic tourism with over 5,000 certified local gastronomic specialities, 415 listed certified wines and 60,000 organic food producers, spread throughout the entire peninsula. The 24,000 farm holiday structures (agriturismo) have had a popularity boom, thanks to the fact that they are small units, surrounded by countryside, where social distancing can be easily maintained.

There has also been a boom of Italians returning to their roots. Small out-of-the-way villages have been unexpectedly revived by an influx of visitors returning to stay with their families of origin and rediscovering the attractions of a traditional “home-to-home holiday” with small speciality shops and traffic-free streets and piazzas, where children can play in safety.


Posted on 01 Sep 2020 by Editor



Posted on 14 Aug 2020 by Editor



A special trek to discover little known villages and beauty spots around Lake Bolsena (Lazio), Europe's largest volcanic lake, is programmed for the 20th August 2020. The route takes in several charming old villages and Etruscan archaeological sites, with accommodation in local b&bs.

Lake Bolsena itself contains fascinating archaeological remains. The submerged prehistoric village of Gran Carro, dating back to the 9th century BC, has produced a great number of antiquities and revealed what are believed to be the foundations of temples and other buildings. Underwater exploratory tours with guide are available from time to time for divers with certification.


Posted on 13 Aug 2020 by Editor

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